Sturgeon, offered by Minion Games, is an easy-to-learn card game for two to five players. The game, designed by Russ Brown, includes a deck of 60 cards and a single-page rule sheet.
Gameplay: First, don’t think that Sturgeon is just another “go fish” type of matching card game – it’s anything but that.
To begin, players sit around a table, which forms the “lake” for the game. All are attempting to be the first to have two sturgeons (a large, fish with distinctive boney plates) on their side of the lake. While that sounds simple, it’s actually a lot of work getting (and keeping) even a single sturgeon on your side. To get a sturgeon, you have to build up to it by first playing “minnow” fish cards that you eventually grow (by eating them) into bass cards, and then eventually into a sturgeon.
A big part of the fun, however, is that you don’t have to eat your own fish to make bigger ones. Instead, by playing special cards, you can make bigger fish for your side of the lake by eating other players’ smaller ones – a tactic which also helps you stay ahead of the competition. However, it’s not always a free lunch, as players can protect their fish with suitable defense cards too. And even the big sturgeons aren’t immune to disaster, as they have to stay out of the grasp of the roving fishermen.
The cards feature fun, colorful cartoon art. The cards themselves, however, are my only complaint. The stock the cards are printed on is lightweight, and we’d played the game only a couple of times before the cards showed some wear.
Sturgeon is a fast-paced game with a solid game-engine that provides a lot of great action and many surprising reversals of fortune. Although the recommended play time on the box is 30 minutes, once my test group had learned the game, we could complete a round in about 15 minutes, which is a good thing because the game is addictive.
Marketing: Sturgeon is recommended for ages 10 and up, which seems just right to me. Since it’s small, it would be easy to take along on trips, making for good family entertainment.
Until people know what the game is all about, selling Sturgeon could be a challenge because the size of the package doesn’t leave a lot of room for description. However, since it’s compact, it’s also ideal for display by the store’s cash register, which lends itself to some creative marketing.
One possible solution would be that if you have a checkout counter that isn’t also a clear display case, why not try laying out a demonstration set up (a great example of which is shown in the instruction sheet), then covering it with a sheet of glass or Plexiglas. This arrangement will be sure to attract attention (but also keep your checkout counter usable), and with the game right there, it makes for an easy sell. You could use this arrangement with similar games as well, perhaps changing the display frequently, so your regular customers always have something new to notice and purchase.
Sturgeon is a lot of fun, and proves that you don’t need a large board and hundreds of wood pieces to have a good game.
Product: Sturgeon: The Card Game of Frenzied Fish-Feeding Fun
Publisher: Minion Games
Stock No.: MNI-STG100
Availability: Check your favorite game distributor or visit www.miniongames.com
Good family entertainment
Easy to learn
Cards are not very durable